Ed King / firstname.lastname@example.org
The Sanctuary is hosting free workshops for local people looking to increase their well being. The weekly groups teach photography, storytelling and singing to a wide range of residents, as a ‘social prescription’ rather than a medical prescription.
The drop in sessions began at the beginning of February with a group of local people attending weekly, and will now be extended until the end of April. Organisers are looking for new people to join the groups, with each session open to all ages, stages and abilities.
“We want to share our enjoyment of singing,” explains Richard Jeffries, who teaches a Monday afternoon workshop along with Helen Willetts.
“The workshops are about a sense of community and meeting people, as well as learning new skills and building confidence.” Both Richard Jeffries and Helen Willetts are established professional tutors, who also run the Sutton Social Singers – a 100person strong community choir in Sutton Coldfield.
Designed to increase personal well being through regular social activity, the Social Prescription workshops were brought to Castle Vale by the Neighbourhood Partnership Board (NPB), a committee of local residents and representatives of the agencies working in the area. Delivered by the Castle Vale Community Regeneration Services (CVCRS), with support from Active Arts Castle Vale (AACV), the Social Prescriptions are an outcome from the Government’s ‘Our Place’ programme.
Castle Vale was one of 12 areas from across the UK to benefit from the ‘Our Place’ programme, which is about new ways of working, after a successful bid by the NPB in 2012. Alongside Birmingham City Council’s Cultural Pilot (BCCCP) the NPB have already supported the Castle Vale Festival, held on Farnborough Fields in September 2013. Further events are scheduled as part of Castle Vale’s Year of Celebration, a twelve month programme of activities ‘celebrating the achievements of the estate since it began major regeneration 21 years ago’.
“Castle Vale has so much to be proud of,” explains Claire Marshall from AACV, “not least of all its sense of neighbourhood spirit. Since the Housing Action Trust was established in 1993, Castle Vale has been a shining example of what can be achieved by community action.
The Social Prescription workshops we’re currently running at The Sanctuary, and all the Year of Celebration activities we’ve got planned, are another way of us encouraging Castle Vale’s immense community spirit.”
Tracey Barrington at CVCRS added, “This complements the range of health and wellbeing activities that we run as part of our programme at The Sanctuary and we’d like to encourage new people to come along and have a chat with us about what activities would suit you.”
Ruth Miller, Neighbourhood Manager for the NPB, said “Castle Vale has a history of strong community engagement and partnership working, and the ‘Our Place’ programme has enabled us to take local action to improve health outcomes through social activities.
I’m thrilled the Social Prescriptions are so well endorsed and hope more residents will benefit from them before the end of April.”
The Sanctuary will be hosting workshops on singing (Mon 1-3pm), photography (Mon 3-5pm) and Storytelling (Weds 12-1:45pm) every week until the end of April. All are free to attend, with no experience necessary.
For more information phone The Sanctuary on (0121) 748 8111
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